From zero to hero: How Singapore became SEA's leading food and nutrition hub in 20 short years


As Singapore transformed over the years to become Southeast Asia’s leading food hub, Food Navigator Asia speaks to Ralph Graichen, Director of Food and Nutrition and Consumer Care at the government Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), where he shares some of the key developments that has driven this growth, how it has become a home for food and agri-tech start-ups, as well as Singapore’s future objectives in food safety and security.

Singapore is rightly proud of its status as South East Asia's leading food and nutrition hub, but the city state is refusing to rest on its laurels, and is now striving to develop a thriving start-up scene and tackle challenges around food safety, security, and advances in manufacturing.

It is all a far cry from just 20 years ago, when the National University of Singapore’s Food Science and Technology programme was launched, along with the first degree courses in the subject.

According to associate professor Ralph Graichen, director of Food and Nutrition and Consumer Care at the government Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), it wasn’t really until 2009 that Singapore’s potential as a regional food hub began to develop.

“Singapore was always linked more with engineering, computing then pharma-bio, but then food started to get interesting too,” he said.

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